Monthly Archives: January 2014

5 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Customer Service Practices

You know who your competitors are, and you probably know what makes your company better than your competitors’. Good products aren’t enough, however. Quality customer service improves your customers’ actual experience. They can probably find what they need from a wide range of businesses. Keeping them happy throughout the process of ordering and receiving what they need is the extra step that’s required to coax them to come back to your company instead of trying the competition. A study by Marketing Metrics shows that companies have a 60 to 70 percent chance of selling their services to existing customers, as compared to a 5 to 20 percent chance of selling to new customers. In other words, it’s easier to keep the clients you have than to find new ones. Here are five ways to improve upon the customer service experience and retain repeat business.

Availability

Is 9 to 5 enough? This is a good time to evaluate your company’s use of after-hours customer service provisions. If your company is tracking its inbound calls, you will know whether you’re missing out on potential business. Are there daily voice mail messages left by people who need help after your office closes? Inbound call center services can field those calls and provide potential clients with a live person to answer their questions or help with order placement.

Professionalism

A clear speaking voice, solid command of the English language and a polite demeanor are all signs of a professional company. Make sure that the customer service agents and telephone answering services you’re using are well-trained and project a professional image.

Tell Them Why You’re Calling

Customers want companies who respect their privacy and their time. If you use outbound calls to contact your customers, make sure they know why you’re calling them. Whether you’re contacting people to inform them that their order has shipped, or that your company is having a sale, be sure to make it clear up front. This builds valuable trust in your client relationships.

Knowledgeable Answers

Sometimes, people just need a little more information before they’re willing to make a purchase. From availability of product details to an explanation of shipping policies, knowledgeable answers to frequently asked questions is the landmark of excellent customer service. Providing this information to customer service representatives can bridge the knowledge gap.

Provide Attention

Customers like attention. Surveys show that customers who get attention are more likely to use that company again. From the friendly voice that answers the phone to the online chat representative who replies to questions, your company can provide better customer service, enticing people to use your business instead of your competition. Online live chat support, live phone order taking and help desk services are all ways to provide focused attention to your customers.

If your company’s existing manpower isn’t enough to handle the demands of your customers, contact Americall to find out how we can help. 1-800-964-3556

How Social Media Complaints and Responses Impact Your Company

Providing a positive customer service experience has become an integral part of a successful business. Statistics from a wide range of surveys and studies shows that customers will go elsewhere when they are unhappy, but they don’t always communicate their displeasure with the company’s customer service department. Businesses that provide stellar customer service through professionally managed outsourcing companies can enjoy positive feedback – or no feedback at all. In today’s business climate, when complaints are received, it’s important to resolve the issue and prevent further dissatisfaction.  Consider these statistics:

  • Dissatisfied customers whose complaints are resolved are more likely than not to use a company again, and even become an advocate, according to Strauss & Seidel.
  • An American Express survey in 2012 revealed that half of all consumers who use social media for customer service reasons say that they do it because they want an actual response from the business about a specific issue.
  • Customers don’t always report a poor experience. According to statistics from Lee Resource, there are 26 other unhappy customers for every one complaint received. When complaints are taken seriously, the problem is hopefully not only resolved with the individual customer, but the root of the source is handled as well. A similar survey by 1Financial Training found that 96 percent of unhappy customers don’t register a complaint, and that 91 percent will leave and never come back.
  • Social media outlets are having a growing impact on businesses, especially when it comes to customer service. More and more customers are using social media comments, industry-related forums and review sites to express their pleasure and displeasure with how companies do business.

Whether it’s a company policy that draws anger or an individual that provides a poor response to a client’s needs, many business owners will never know when there is a problem. The issue at hand will never be discovered, and poor customer relations can continue and grow.

Exploring 5 Future Trends in Call Center Services

Like many aspects of business today, call center services are growing and changing. It’s no longer a matter of if customers can reach your company, but how can customers reach your company. Using outsourced personnel can make the difference between your business being available to answer questions and take orders, or opening the door for your competitors to do it instead. As the call center services industry continues to change and grow, here are five trends we should expect to take place within the next two years.

1. 24-Hour Contact – Customers hope for the ability to interact with companies around the clock. As the restrictions tighten on making personal calls and going online while people are at work, they are gravitating toward companies that offer 24-hour contact. Whether it’s by phone, via chat or with email, they want a response, and they don’t want to be held off until 9 a.m. on the next business day. As more and more businesses adopt around-the-clock technology on multiple channels, customer service call centers will be expected to interact with customers well beyond the former standard of a 9 to 5 workday. Many already do. Look for this trend to grow and become the norm, rather than the exception.

2. Speech Analytics – For companies that want to enhance the first-contact experience, increase sales, improve collections and reduce the number of non-returning customers, speech analytics is a growing trend that can help. About one-fourth of all organizations use speech analytics to evaluate their call center services, and another one-quarter of organizations plan to consider this technology in their future plans.

3. Monitoring Communications - According to a survey by Forrester Research, less than one-third of organizations monitor the quality of front-line communications with their targeted clients. Look for performance and quality assurance management to become more important in the near future. As long as callers are receiving quality customer service, companies will be happy with the results. Monitoring the results through real-time metrics allows businesses to stay in tune with their call center services and determine the success of their efforts.

4. Telecommuting Staff – According to the National Association of Call Centers, more than half of call centers in the U.S. have at least a portion of their workers telecommuting. The incidence of telecommuting customer service personnel and virtual receptionists is growing rapidly, and was expected to jump at least 20 percent within the past year.

5. Effective Self-Service – As customers become more self-sufficient with technology, some customer service-based organizations are predicting that people will gravitate more readily towards self-service. While online shopping and automated phone systems are currently available, systems that allow customers to place orders, check on their status and register complaints at their convenience will soon become the new standard. One prediction by Gartner Summits even predicts that 85 percent of customer transactions will take place between the customer and the business without human interaction.

At Americall, we are a leader in call center services. We are constantly working to improve the technology and customer service experience that we provide on behalf of our clients. Contact us today to find out how we are keeping up with these and other industry trends, and how we can help your business.

4 Reasons Outsourcing Call Center Service Is Good For Your Business

Choosing to outsource call center services is a big step for many companies. It changes how they do business. In some cases, the idea of outsourcing can make business owners feel as if they have less control over the actual treatment and response to their customers. The opposite is true, however. By choosing company that specializes in call center services to handle the particulars, businesses can streamline their efforts for a better result. There are several reasons that outsourcing call center services can be good for your business, and. Here are four of them.

Volume

An increase in volume of inbound calls is a top motive for companies to outsource their call center services. When there isn’t enough personnel to handle the number of calls coming in, that means that people are experiencing long wait times before they can speak to someone. Their needs are not being met, and they will go elsewhere. Increasing the ability to answer inbound calls promptly gives companies the ability to improve customer service, adjust the number of personnel to meet the call volume and grow their businesses.

Training

For companies handling call center services in-house, training is often an issue. Inconsistency in training and ground rules can cause inconsistency in how calls are handled and how customers are treated. By outsourcing call center services, businesses are assured that training is consistent and follows one set of standards.

Concentration

Manufacturers and distributors may find that concentrating their staffing efforts on creating the company’s products is paramount. Dividing their in-house personnel to cover inbound and outbound telephone calls and emails can cause a company to lose focus and divide their resources. Outsourcing inbound and outbound call center services puts the burden of hiring and managing personnel for the customer service and communications arms of the company into the hands of specialized professionals. The focus of product manufacturing and distribution stays within the company’s core concentration.

Cost Efficiency

When inbound and outbound communications are not a central part to a business, outsourcing these tasks can make companies more cost efficient. For example, hiring, managing and training people to handle call center services in-house takes a lot of time and money. Expenses include providing office space, workstations, equipment, managers, insurance and taxes.

How Real Estate Agents Can Better Manage Marketing and Inbound Calls

One of the drawbacks of being a real estate professional with your own company is that you are responsible for everything. From implementing marketing plans for buyers and sellers to handling property management and lead generation, it can be overwhelming. Add in the time it takes to field phone calls and meetings with prospective buyers and sellers while juggling contract proposals, and running a real estate business can be downright exhausting. One solution is to minimize the amount of time it takes to generate leads and handle marketing for the company and for homeowners. By putting one segment of your business in the hands of professionals capable of taking inbound calls and promoting your company with outbound telemarketing, there is more time for you to see to other details and track market trends.

Lead Generation

According to an infographic published by Creditsesame.com, people are staying in their homes three years longer now than they were just five years ago. As of 2009, 21 percent of homeowners were selling after just two to three years. By 2011, that figure had dropped to just 8 percent. With the housing market rebounding, however, homeowners are starting to change their thinking. Financial situations are changing, families are growing and the number of people selling their homes is increasing. So how can you become the real estate agent that earns that business? By letting people know you are available and that you’re good at what you do. Turning over your lead generation groundwork to call center professionals while you are concentrating on helping people buy and sell homes in your area gives you more time to do what you do best while still growing your business.

Outbound Marketing

Contacting your previous clients who have bought or sold homes in the past four to seven years takes a lot of time and energy. An outbound telemarketing strategy can help you to rekindle relationships with former clients and earn referrals from those who are planning to stay where they are for a few more years. If you haven’t been in business that long, an outbound marketing approach helps you to let people know that you’re available to take on new clients. Brand recognition is key, and a marketing plan can be implemented now to help your company grow. You can also use outbound marketing strategies to help your clients sell their homes faster.

Market Research

Finding people before they put their homes on the market and before they begin their search for a new house is tricky. Outsourcing surveys and market research can help you keep your finger on the pulse of the local real estate climate without you having to dig into this time-consuming but necessary portion of your business. Taking surveys and compiling demographic data on homeowners and renters in your community generates statistics and leads that your real estate business can work with to develop a successful advertising and marketing plan for the future.

Manning the Phones

Once your business begins to flourish, answering the phone is one more way to divide your time. This is another task that can be outsourced. A virtual receptionist can handle incoming phone calls and take information from potential clients or other real estate agents while you’re out in the field and working with other clients.

Americall can help take the time-consuming legwork of lead generation, outbound telemarketing, surveys and market research off your plate so that you can concentrate on clients who are buying and selling homes in your area. Our trained virtual receptionists can also field inbound calls to your business to help you stay organized without being overwhelmed. Contact us today to find out how. 1-800-964-3556